Pre­par­ing for an un­ex­pected emer­gency, es­pe­cially one brought on by se­vere weather, is one of the most im­por­tant ways you can pro­tect your home and fam­ily. Proac­tively ad­dress­ing storm-re­lated is­sues rang­ing from prop­erty dam­age to power out­ages can minim

Focus of SWFL - - Thwart That Throat Tickle - FAM­ILY FEA­TURES

Step 1: Ver­ify Your Home­own­ers In­surance Cov­ers Storm Dam­age

Nearly all home­own­ers carry some form of in­surance on their home, as re­quired by their mort­gage lender. But poli­cies can vary, and the af­ter­math of a pow­er­ful storm is no time to find out you’re un­der­in­sured.

To en­sure your home­own­ers pol­icy ad­e­quately cov­ers your needs, take time to re­view the pol­icy ev­ery year at re­newal time, and any time you make any sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to your home. Check that the cov­er­age amount for your main res­i­dence ac­cu­rately re­flects the fin­ished square footage of your home, in­clud­ing any up­grades or changes such as a newly ren­o­vated bath­room or ex­panded deck struc­ture. Also con­firm that the re­place­ment cost your home­own­ers in­surance agent has de­ter­mined is con­sis­tent with what you would ex­pect to pay to re­build your home.

In ad­di­tion, take time to un­der­stand any ex­clu­sions, es­pe­cially those for weather-re­lated in­ci­dents. For ex­am­ple, many home­own­ers in­surance poli­cies do not au­to­mat­i­cally in­clude flood pro­tec­tion.

Fi­nally, take time to thor­oughly doc­u­ment your per­sonal pos­ses­sions with video or still images and record their value. Store the doc­u­men­ta­tion in a safe place, such as a safety de­posit box or re­mote-ac­cess elec­tronic file, that you will be able to ac­cess in the event of an emer­gency. Not only will this help ex­pe­dite your claim if you need to re­place items, but you’ll have a list ready when you face the daunt­ing task of re­plac­ing your be­long­ings.

Keep Up on Home Main­te­nance

Step­ping out­side after a sig­nif­i­cant storm is no time to re­mem­ber that you for­got to trim the tree or se­cure a loose sec­tion of fenc­ing.

110 FO­CUS of SWFL 2014 Mak­ing time to pro­vide on­go­ing home main­te­nance for ex­te­rior fea­tures of your home, such as land­scap­ing, deck­ing, sid­ing, roof­ing and shut­ters, will en­sure they are in good func­tion when bad weather strikes.

While lit­tle can be done to pre­vent dam­age from high-im­pact storms, rou­tinely check­ing that ev­ery­thing is in good re­pair will min­i­mize the chances of pre­ventable de­struc­tion.

As you as­sess your home and yard, ask your­self: Are the trees and shrubs prop­erly trimmed and set far enough away from struc­tures that they are un­likely to top­ple in high winds? Are shut­ters af­fixed se­curely to the house? Are there any cracked or oth­er­wise weak­ened win­dows that should be re­placed to pre­vent shat­ter­ing dur­ing a storm?

Pre­pare for Backup Power Dur­ing an Ou­tage

Loss of power is one of the most common oc­cur­rences in se­vere weather. And the fi­nan­cial im­pact of ou­tage-re­lated ex­penses (e.g. spoiled food re­place­ment, sup­ply pur­chases or home re­pair) can add up quickly.

“Storm-re­lated power loss can be costly for a fam­ily,” said Greg In­wood, vice pres­i­dent for Briggs & Strat­ton Standby Power. “An un­ex­pected power loss can re­sult in a num­ber of in­con­ve­niences if the ou­tage re­quires spe­cial ar­range­ments such as meals out and overnight ho­tel stays.”

The eas­i­est way to pre­pare for a weather-re­lated power ou­tage is by in­stalling a standby gen­er­a­tor in ad­vance of the storm sea­son. For­tu­nately, at­tain­ing the safety and com­fort pro­vided by a standby gen­er­a­tor dur­ing a storm event has be­come more rea­son­able thanks to emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy that has made gen­er­a­tors smaller, smarter and, there­fore, more af­ford­able.

“In the past, hav­ing a gen­er­a­tor was cost-pro­hib­i­tive for many house­holds,” said Amanda Grandy, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Briggs & Strat­ton Standby Power, which is the ex­clu­sive li­censee of GE Gen­er­a­tor Sys­tems. “To­day, tech­nol­ogy has ad­vanced to make own­ing a standby gen­er­a­tor far more af­ford­able for the av­er­age fam­ily.”

Im­proved tech­nol­ogy fea­tures such as GE’s Sym­phony ® II power man­age­ment sys­tem, which man­ages a home’s power de­mands au­to­mat­i­cally and elec­tron­i­cally dur­ing an ou­tage, al­low more of a home’s lights and ap­pli­ances — up to two AC units — to be pow­ered with a smaller standby gen­er­a­tor. A home that would typ­i­cally need a larger 20 KW home gen­er­a­tor to power all of the home’s power de­mands could now be pow­ered with GE’s 10 KW unit paired with Sym­phony ® II tech­nol­ogy. The smaller, more af­ford­able 10 KW home gen­er­a­tors also boast the small­est foot­print on the mar­ket, mak­ing it ideal for homes with tight lot lines.

Learn more about the home standby gen­er­a­tors avail­able to home­own­ers at www.gegen­er­a­

Emer­gency Preparedness Kit

Hav­ing an emer­gency preparedness kit of items that your house­hold may need in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion is crit­i­cal. Ba­sic util­i­ties such as elec­tric­ity, gas, wa­ter, sewage and phone ser­vice may be un­avail­able after a storm strikes, so the kit should con­tain food, wa­ter, any nec­es­sary med­i­ca­tions, light­ing and backup bat­tery sup­plies.

Common Types of Backup Gen­er­a­tors A power ou­tage is a common re­sult of weather-re­lated emer­gen­cies, but it’s also one of the eas­i­est to cor­rect by us­ing a gen­er­a­tor. There are two common gen­er­a­tor types: por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tors and standby gen­er­a­tors. A por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tor is an im­me­di­ate but tem­po­rary so­lu­tion. Typ­i­cally pow­ered by gaso­line, it is lower in cost and doesn’t re­quire in­stal­la­tion time, but it can only power a few items for a few hours. A standby gen­er­a­tor is an au­to­matic,

per­ma­nent backup power so­lu­tion. It re­quires pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion out­side the home. It is pow­ered by nat­u­ral gas or liq­uid propane and turns on au­to­mat­i­cally dur­ing a util­ity power ou­tage to keep a home’s lights, fur­nace, AC units and other ap­pli­ances on while the power is out.

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